Trial date set for Canyon View Estates

Solar panels line a hillside in Canyon Country above the Canyon View Estates. The City of Santa Clarita has ordered the removal of these panels. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

A nonjury trial has been set to begin later this year for the owners of Canyon View Estates mobile home park accused of refusing to remove solar panels in the area.

The defendants, including Kerry Seidenglanz, managing partner of Canyon View Estates, are expected to appear at the Chatsworth Courthouse on Oct. 21, according to case information from the Superior Court of California.

In a nonjury trial, also known as a bench trial, the judge is both the fact-finder and decides the outcome of the trial. This kind of trial is often chosen for a speedy resolution to a legal matter.

In September, the city of Santa Clarita filed a formal complaint against the property owners, asking the court for “preliminary and permanent injunction” and to “abate a public nuisance.”

The litigation stems from Canyon View installing what the city alleges to be about 6,000 solar panels without city permits in 2017, violating Santa Clarita’s municipal code. The city seeks to clear more than 2 acres of land occupied by the solar panels located in and outside of park premises deemed “exceptionally large.”

Initial efforts to have the solar panels removed started in July. Owners of the property have not publicly commented on the matter since the installation nearly two years ago.

Seidenglanz did provide a detailed, public explanation that was only to address a multiple-day power outage that left about 200 residents of the mobile home park in the dark. In his statement, he said the solar panels were operating properly but a “fault in the line underground has kept that power from getting to some of the homes.” To temporarily remedy the problem, he brought in generators while property managers worked to fix a breach in the locale’s electrical system.

Alan Ferdman, Canyon Country Advisory Committee chair, asked city staff Tuesday during a City Council meeting to provide litigation updates because, “We’re now a year and a half since those solar panels were first installed and the only thing we’ve seen come out of that is more panels.”

City Attorney Joe Montes addressed the question briefly, answering that, “That litigation is proceeding. Currently, there is a trial date set for October of this year.”

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